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Will South Carolina Gov. McMaster’s veto stop bill to raise state gas tax?

S.C. Governor Henry McMaster vetoed a bill strongly supported by both side of the state legislature to increase the state’s current 16.75-cent gas tax by 12 cents over the next six years.

   South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster vetoed a highway funding bill Tuesday that would increase the state’s current 16.75-cent gas tax by 12 cents over the next six years.
   The bill had been approved by a group of senators late Monday by a vote of 32-12, and the House on Tuesday by a vote of 99 to 20.
   However, on Wednesday morning, the South Carolina House of Representatives squashed McMaster’s veto by a vote of 95 to 18. The veto override now moves on to the state Senate where a vote is expected later today, according to a report from local newspaper The State.
   S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas said Wednesday that McMaster failed to offer a viable solution to fix the state’s roads and that he chose to listen “to campaign consultants, rather than the people of the great state of South Carolina.”
   Rep. Micah Caskey, R-Lexington, said McMaster was focused on next year’s GOP primary – generally a low-turnout vote dominated by anti-tax voters.
   McMaster called the legislation a burden on the poor and working classes that doesn’t properly address reforming a dysfunctional state highway department, The Post and Courier reported.
   “Clearly, our roads must have additional funding, but that is not the right or necessary way to get it,” McMaster said. “This is not ‘legislating’ in the proper sense of that word; it is an act of capitulation.
   “We have plenty of money in the system to do all the work on the roads if we would just apply it to the roads that need work,” he added. “It’s not necessary to put yet another tax on the people of South Carolina.”
   Overall, the measure is expected to raise over $600 million a year in additional funding for South Carolina’s roads and bridges once the increase and other driver related fees are fully phased in, The Post and Courier reported. In addition, the agreement includes alternative tax cuts and rebates for college tuition, earned income, manufacturing property and vehicle maintenance costs.
   Lawmakers in California last month approved a similar 10-year $52.4 billion infrastructure bill that will be funded through a series of gas and diesel tax hikes. At least 14 other states are considering raising gas taxes in order to fund transportation infrastructure investments, and another 19 states and the District of Columbia have increased tax rates since 2013.

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